Wish I Hadn’t Witnessed: Who Wears Short Shorts?

I had really hoped that my first installment of “Wish I Hadn’t Witnessed” would be my last, but sadly, the universe clearly needs me to shine a spotlight on the atrocities I witness on a regular basis. In addition, the universe also seems to want me to continue writing about underwear. And so, my cherished friends, I am compelled to shock and disturb you with another tale of unmentionables. Consider yourselves warned.
This weekend, while enjoying a tasty meal of tapas at a new neighborhood restaurant, I excused myself to visit the ladies’ room, as I am known to do on occasion. While I was washing my hands, which I am also known to do on occasion, two women – one about 25 and one about 40 years old – stormed into the bathroom in a bit of a panic. Within seconds, the younger woman tossed something out of the bathroom stall, which the older woman quickly grabbed. This woman then shoved me out of the way and started rinsing what appeared to be white shorts in the bathroom sink.
Since there was only one sink, and I’m not into the “doing laundry in a public bathroom” kink scene, I quickly moved aside. After grabbing a handful of paper towels, I turned around, only to see the younger woman standing next to me in her underwear as she waited for her friend to finish rinsing her shorts. In a voice that was far too loud for a public restroom, she said, “Oh my god! I don’t even have anything! This just sucks so bad!”
Now, first of all, let me point out that I was not eating tapas at a roadside way station. Not that I think it’s appropriate to stand in your underwear in any type of public restroom, but I imagine that running into partially clothed strangers in the bathroom is a bit more commonplace in way stations than in upscale Spanish restaurants. In fact, that’s usually the only reason I ever stop at roadside way stations.
Secondly, this bathroom was very tiny, making it utterly impossible to pretend that I didn’t notice these women, which was my initial instinct.
Thricely, there was no air dryer in the bathroom – only paper towels. So I couldn’t help but wonder – once this woman was done rinsing out what I could only assume to be the stains of womanhood from her shorts, how exactly did she intend to dry them off?
As much as I wanted to run from this scene, a tiny voice called to me in my head. It was the voice of a twelve year old Jenny, so sweet and innocent, and still not fully in tune with her lunar cycles. The voice reminded me that I, too, had been in this situation before. Well, not exactly this situation, but a similar one:
Summer of ’83. County fair. White shorts. That carnival ride that spins you around until you stick to the wall. Centrifugal force and unexpected period do not a pretty combination make. Nothing but occupied Port-o-Potties as far as the eye could see.
To this day, I refuse to go to traveling carnivals and let mentally ill carnies strap me into giant spinning wheels until the floor drops out. Do you even understand how this experience crippled me emotionally? Why do you think I’m still single? I’m like a shut-in!
The pain of that memory still stinging in my brain, I stopped myself from leaving, and without really making eye contact with the semi-nude woman, I just said, “Uh, do you, uh, need anything?” Because in woman speak, “need anything” is the universal code for: I’m carrying Tampax products and am willing to share, because I’m just always that prepared, which is why I never find myself in your situation, i.e. standing in a public bathroom half naked in front of a complete stranger while waiting for my shorts to dry.
The semi-nude woman seemed completely oblivious to my presence, even after I spoke directly to her. Her friend just kept rinsing and shrieked, “No, she doesn’t need anything. She needs to have her head checked, that’s all!” She then let out a husky, bitter laugh that made me think they might both be a bit drunk.
She continued, “I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m your mother!”
I shrugged my shoulders, tossed my paper towels away, and returned to my grilled lamb chops. As I recounted this recent adventure to my dining companion, Lazlo, he asked innocently, “Does that happen a lot to women?”
I shook my head and said, “Not unless you hang out at Six Flags all the time.”
He gave me a puzzled look, “Huh?”
“Uh… never mind.”

7 Responses to “Wish I Hadn’t Witnessed: Who Wears Short Shorts?”

  1. teahouseblossom Says:

    Yeah, I have many embarrassed stained-my-pants stories as well.
    I got rid of all white pants of any type when I was about 13 years old for that reason.

  2. nicole Says:

    That sounds like a great pitch for the next Tampon commercial. I hate the one where the girl plugs up her sinking canoe with a “Pearl.” Give me true life stories of embarrassment!

  3. Steve Says:

    This is one of those “coulda gone my whole life without” stories.

  4. Fiorello LaGuardia Says:

    ::::::: chuckle :::::::::: I’m laffin’ at Steve’s comment.
    My first thought, tho, was “does your mom know that you are discussing this topic with a *guy* named ‘Lazlo’?” If I ever meet her, I’m definitely telling on you,
    young lady!!!!
    (Or am I just the oldest coot reading this blog?
    Gosh, I will have to discuss this with my husband, Ward. And I *certainly* hope he doesn’t mention it to the Beaver and Wally…)
    June Cleaver

  5. AB Says:

    Oh, but doesn’t every girl have at least one of those embarrassing stories?
    Oh, and thanks for making me paranoid. I just bought white pants for the first time ever and I was going to wear them tomorrow. Black it is!!

  6. Randa Says:

    Oh yes; don’t we all have a horrifying, mortifying, compromising story to tell in that respect. And for any female who hasn’t caught onto this yet: Always ALWAYS (hee) carry something! (And I still don’t wear white; it’s just a bit too nerve-wracking.)

  7. jessicaprince Says:

    Hah – this is hysterical!
    Found you from Trisha at Least of My Worries – I love your writing style…